Growth: The Secret Ingredient in CIO Success

At a recent gathering for CIOs, John Hofmeister, the president of Shell Oil Co., surprised the group when he noted that just 10 years ago the oil giant had no enterprise CIO. Some business units had CIOs, but the company as a whole did not. Then, in 2001, Shell concluded that it could go no further without the enterprise-wide leadership of a CIO. For Shell, sustainable, enterprise-wide growth was contingent on having an IT executive to lead IT for the entire company.

This month's CIO Habitat focuses on the under-the-radar but nonetheless integral relationship between CIO leadership and business growth. Our researchers contacted 200 companies in 17 vertical markets (100 large companies; 100 midmarket organizations). We sought IT executives' thoughts on growth and how IT not only enables but also drives it. We also learned about the careful balancing act between tactical and strategic considerations as these companies grow.

A Rising Tide Lifts Most Boats
The good news is that the majority of our respondents' companies are growing. On the surface, the growth scenario varies depending on enterprise size. Fully 91% of large-company respondents say they are either in high-growth or growth environments. Compare that with the 55% of midmarket enterprises that classify their companies as high-growth or growth environments (see Figure 1).

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This was first published in August 2007

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